With support from InterOffice, one family is building new memories on Otter Tail Lake.

For as long as she can remember, one InterOffice client (who prefers to remain anonymous) has spent her summers on Otter Tail Lake in central Minnesota. When she was in grade school, her mother would rent a cabin on the lake for one week every summer. She and her siblings spent those precious weeks swimming in the cool, clear water, running wild through the oak trees that lined the shore, and most importantly, being together. 

“I have so many wonderful memories of the Otter Tail. It’s a great lake for kids to grow up on. You can spend the whole day out there,” she said. “I look back now, and I have to laugh. We didn’t even have air conditioning in our cabin, but it didn’t matter because we were together.”

When she married her husband, the two knew that they wanted to carry on the tradition of Otter Tail summers with their own family. They purchased a cabin in 1986, which they shared with relatives before purchasing a property of their own in 1995.

“Our kids were born and raised going to the lake,” she said.

The couple had long dreamed of building their own home on Otter Tail–and this summer, their dream became a reality. The couple purchased a plot of land on the lake in 2019 and began building their dream home from the ground up. It was a major undertaking, but fortunately, they knew who she could call for help.

“I met [the couple] in 2005 when they purchased a few pieces of furniture and accessories from me,” said InterOffice Residential Expert Sheila Hanson. “We kept in touch throughout the years, adding a piece of furniture or accessory here and there. Then in 2020 they approached me to help them with their lake home, and of course I said yes.”

I have so many wonderful memories of the Otter Tail. It’s a great lake for kids to grow up on.

Because they were building their new home from scratch, Hanson had a clean slate to start from. First, she sat down with the couple to discuss their goals for the space. They wanted to create an environment that was modern and sleek, with clean lines and neutral tones, while still being warm and comfortable. They wanted the furnishings and decor to be stylish, yet understated, allowing the panoramic views of their beloved lake to remain the focal point.  

In the two years since, Hanson has supported the couple with the project from floor to ceiling–literally.

“Whether it was helping us select flooring or picking out paint samples, Sheila has been involved with every aspect of the house,” the client said. “It was a huge relief for me. She knows my style, she laid everything out, and I don’t think there was hardly anything that we changed.”

Due to their busy schedules, the long drive from their home in south eastern North Dakota, and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the couple were not able to be on-site for much of the build. When they could not be there, they trusted Hanson to step in.

Leaning on her existing relationships in the industry, Hanson collaborated with local partners such as Ferguson’s Bath, Kitchen, and Lighting, Wood Specialists, Carpet World, Hebron Brick, and Ceramic Tileworks to get the job done. 

“Together, we were able to create the design and functionality that they wanted,” Hanson said. “Projects like this don’t come along every day, and in the end you want the homeowner to be happy.”

Hanson supported the couple from the big picture down to the tiniest details, like selecting accessories, rugs, and art for the entire home. They also collaborated on using an elm tree from the couple’s property to create an 18-foot wood bench in the great room. Other unexpected touches included gold plumbing fixtures from Ferguson’s in the master bathroom and a sectional with a chaise lounge from Stickley to relax and enjoy the view.

“She makes you go out of the box,” the client said. “I never would have chosen that chaise myself, but now it is the first place everyone wants to sit when they enter the living room.”

The couple’s dream home on Otter Tail lake was completed in July 2022. It is a timeless, one-level retreat with lush furnishings and a screened-in porch, where they can enjoy the cool summer evenings without all of the bugs. Best of all, it is located next door to the home they purchased together in 1995–which is now shared by their two sons.

“We’re right next door to each other, so it’s pretty ideal,” the client said. “My siblings and I always got to spend our summers on Otter Tail together. I’m glad that my children are able to share some of the same memories.”